30 Juin 2013
July 1, 2013
OSAKA – The ruling Liberal Democratic Party was the sole opponent of abolishing nuclear power in a policy debate involving the secretaries-general of nine major political parties Saturday.
While the representatives of the eight other parties backed ridding Japan of atomic energy generation, LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba said lawmakers should not mislead the public by calling for a zero-nuclear option. Ishiba said the LDP will aim to reduce the nation’s dependence on atomic energy but underscored his party’s plans to push for a restart of idled reactors once they are deemed safe.
“If we don’t (suggest) ways to reduce dependence on nuclear power, it is not responsible politics,” said Ishiba. “(Other parties) should not delude the public by using phrases like ‘zero nuclear power.’ “
But Ishiba found himself in a minority of one, as the secretaries-general of New Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, and opposition groups including the Democratic Party of Japan and Your Party voiced support for the elimination of all nuclear power plants.
During the debate, held in Osaka ahead of the Upper House election, the secretaries-general were asked to hold up a board with either a circle or a cross to indicate their support or opposition for the zero-nuclear power goal. Ishiba was the only one to hoist a cross in the air.
Among the proponents, Japanese Communist Party Secretary-General Tadayoshi Ichida said it would be inconceivable to restart reactors or export Japan’s nuclear technologies given that the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 plant has yet to be resolved. His Your Party counterpart, Kenji Eda, said it would be irresponsible to bring reactors back online when locations for disposal facilities for spent nuclear fuel have yet to be decided.
Among other issues likely to dominate campaigning for the July 21 House of Councilors poll, the party representatives debated Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s proposed constitutional revision and his government’s promotion of nuclear-related exports.
On Abe’s plan to water down Article 96 to make it easier to amend the Constitution, the LDP’s Ishiba and his Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) counterpart voiced support.
But DPJ Secretary-General Goshi Hosono slammed Abe and said efforts should be made to retain the two-thirds majority requirement needed in both chambers of the Diet for any constitutional amendment, as currently stipulated by Article 96.
New Komeito’s Yoshihisa Inoue supported him, saying that altering the charter should not be proposed before the public has thoroughly debated the issue.
OSAKA--The ruling Liberal Democratic Party separated itself from the nine parties that participated in a public debate on June 29, being the only one that supports the continued use of nuclear power far into the nation's future.
Party executives of the nine major parties that will compete in the Upper House election to be held on July 21 gathered in Osaka to debate various issues, such as economic policy and constitutional revision.
At one point, the nine lawmakers were asked whether they favored moving toward a future when Japan had no nuclear plants in operation.
LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba was the only one who voted "No."
He pointed out that unless operations were resumed at nuclear reactors "energy costs would increase, carbon dioxide emissions would increase and trade balance would worsen."
Only two reactors are now online as the remaining 48 have suspended operations in the wake of the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Four electric power companies plan to apply to the Nuclear Regulation Authority to restart 12 nuclear reactors soon after new stricter safety standards take effect on July 8.
Ishiba criticized the move to eliminate all nuclear plants. "Unless the negative aspects are taken into consideration before thinking about how to reduce the weight of nuclear power generation, we cannot make responsible political decisions," he said.
Even junior coalition partner New Komeito favored moving toward a nuclear power-free future.
All the opposition parties also supported such a goal.
"After the decision is made to eliminate nuclear plants, efforts should be made to encourage research and development as well as other efforts by companies," said Yasuko Komiyama, the Diet affairs committee chairperson for the People's Life Party.
Tadatomo Yoshida, acting secretary-general for the Social Democratic Party, also criticized the LDP's moves toward allowing electric power companies to resume operations at nuclear reactors.
"Last summer demonstrated that electricity could be supplied without operating any nuclear reactors," he said.
Ishiba stressed the progress made by the Abe administration in the six months it has been in office on the economic front through its package of measures, commonly known as Abenomics.